Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Celebrate Freedom

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, 
the people he chose for his inheritance.” Psalm 33:12

So here the thing, I think He has chosen every person, every tribe and every nation. Take a look at
Revelation 7:9 After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

While we in America celebrate our independence and freedom as a nation with barbecues, fire works and family gatherings, which I too will enjoy today. I can't help but think of my American Indian friend Lenore. She is from the Lacota tribe and one of very few Indian believers. She shared how hard it is for Indians to accept Christianity. In their mind it is the white mans religion, and the white man took their land and they have suffered many atrocities over the years. She does not tell her Indian friends and family that she is a Christian. She tells them she is a Lacota woman who follows Jesus. Click here's to link to that Sunday that she shared her story. History is written by the victor and I found out that day that there is a lot of the story that I don't know.

So I guess I wanted to think more about is celebrating the freedom from the darkness that we enjoy as believers in Jesus. His Kingdom is very different from the kingdoms and nations of this world. While some say we in America are a Christian nation I prefer to think we are a nation like many others with people who follow Jesus.  I think of that amazing multitude that no one could count from Revelation 7:9. We look for churches filled with people just like us. So we go looking for places with people who come from our social standing, or that are filled with people of our color. I'm all for people of differing ethnic roots to celebrate Jesus with in their own culture. I just think we are looking for our common ground in the wrong places. When we stand in heaven among people from every nation, tribe, people and language what will you and I have in common with them?

Its something to ponder for a half a second before you are off to eat watermelon and burgers. Here's what I believe we have in common. We have each in our brokenness turned to Jesus. We have believed He is the way, the truth and the life. We have decided to follow him, and do things his ways. What we have in common is Jesus. He teaches us to live sacrificially, to lay down our lives for others. He teaches us to bear one another's burdens. He teaches us to stand up and work for justice for the needy, the poor, the prisoner, the widow, the orphan. To reach out to the marginalized of our societies. He calls us to repent of our own sins, and to forgive those who have sinned against us. His way causes us to have to die to our selfish carnal ways. So what we have in common is that we all come to him broken. We can pretend we have it all together and put on our Sunday best or we can come to the stark realization that every last one of us is broken in some way or another. Our best is filthy rags compared to his holiness. Its time we put aside our differences and our stones.  We all have good days and bad days when the things that trip us up get the better of us. We need to take off our masks and realize what we have in common is that we are broken and we need Jesus and learn to walk together as people of His Kingdom.

Dear Lord, Thank you for your great diversity. Thank you that heaven will be populated with people of all kinds. Thank you that we can celebrate the freedom you have given us. Help us to remember to help others on the journey out of darkness and into your marvelous light.

So since we are celebrating our birthday as a blog this month, I wanted to add some little party favors in the form of fun little ideas. I have no great big supporters to appeal to for tremendous give away and prizes. I though I would just pull together some fun little things that you might enjoy. 

I found these cute lifesaver wraps that require some patriotic scrap book papers or printable papers. Click on the photo to be taken to the step by step directions for this project. You could do this using any scrapbook papers and they might even make good kindness gifts to give away to people through your day.  It is His kindness that leads us to repentance.

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